White Oleander is a painfully beautiful first novel about a young girl growing up the hard way. It is a powerful story of mothers and daughters, their ambiguous alliances, their selfish love and cruel behaviour, and the search for love and identity.Astrid has been raised by her mother, a beautiful, headstrong poet. Astrid forgives her everything as her world revolves around this beautiful creature until Ingrid murders a former lover and is imprisoned for life. Astrid's fierce determination to survive and be loved makes her ...
White Oleander is a painfully beautiful first novel about a young girl growing up the hard way. It is a powerful story of mothers and daughters, their ambiguous alliances, their selfish love and cruel behaviour, and the search for love and identity.Astrid has been raised by her mother, a beautiful, headstrong poet. Astrid forgives her everything as her world revolves around this beautiful creature until Ingrid murders a former lover and is imprisoned for life. Astrid's fierce determination to survive and be loved makes her an unforgettable figure. 'LIQUID POETRY' - Oprah Winfrey 'Tangled, Complex and extraordinarily moving' - Observer
This is one of my all time favorite books. A very beautiful but disturbed woman finds herself obsessed with a very unlikely man, and finally poisens him with Oleander. She is convicted for the crime and her daughter is left at the mercy of the foster care system. The story is very dark and haunting, but what elevates the book for me is the writing. It is beautiful and lyrical in the descriptions of Los Angeles and its suburbs. Having grown up in this area I could feel the winds, hear the sounds of traffic on a nearby freeway overpass, picture a beautiful sunrise in a seedy neighborhood. Some might say this story is a little over the top, but it is still dark and beautiful as you watch this young girl who has always lived in the shadow of her mother finally find herself as she " goes through the fire" of one bad placement after another. This is a book I will read again just to enjoy the poetic writing.
Nov 22, 2008
Readable, but not a joy
As I loved the movie, I thought it would be interesting to read the book for a further exploration of the characters. Unfortunately, I found the movie to deal with character development in more depth than the book. While readable as a way to kill time the book is mired in endless similes and metaphors, some dreamlike, most leaving the reader caught in a fog of like and as. However, as a writer myself, I am constantly dismayed by the poor punctuation and grammar that seems to be prevalent in so many of today's "literary classics." I would have thought that someone who teaches creative writing at the university level would have honed her craft a little more sharply. Perhaps Janet Fitch is attempting to appeal to the mainstream reader, who unfortunately seems to be interested in reading only those books one does not have to think about; sadly, that reader is not me.
May 28, 2008
This book is very good. Incredibly depressing, but good. Fitch shines as a writer, and the only complaint I have about this novel is that her protagonist consistently makes the wrong decision, to the point where it seems Romeo-and-Juliet-esque. Both an exploration of a mother-daughter relationship, and an exploration of the aspects (mostly bad) of the foster care system.
Apr 30, 2007
A mother-daughter thing
Astrid grows up in the loving claws of her mother, who ends up in jail for murder. Since her mother is single, Astrid ends up in an orphanage after which she gets shunted from one family to the next; one of her foster parents commits suicide (the one she gets to love most). How can a girl turn into a woman under these circumstances? She does, and she becomes a woman of integrity in spite of her mother?s pleas to ?remember who you are?. When an opportunity arises for Astrid to tell the truth about her mother (and the murder) she gets to understand that her mother loves her in spite of all the things that happened in their past. It?s honestly a story that needs to be read more than once.
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